On the Water: Cooler days ahead; fish will be on the move
Finally, after a long hot summer, Southwest Florida was greeted with slightly cooler temperatures and lower humidity. As Hurricane Joaquin moved up the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast, a stiff northerly breeze dropped down, often accompanied with rain, which made fishing a challenge for several days.
Redfish were reported in both Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass. The southern end of the sound near Wulfert Keys on the western side and Regla Island to the east yielded reds up to 31 inches. On high water, fish were hooked under the mangroves and oyster bars, and for the lower stages, fish were feeding along troughs along the sandbars. Also in the sound, mid to upper slot reds were reported around the islands near Cabbage Key and also inside Captiva, Redfish, and Blind passes.
In Matlacha Pass, anglers found success on reds south of the bridge near the power lines on both sides of the pass. Fish from 16 to 28 inches were caught at creek mouths and mangrove points over the higher tides. Large jack crevalles, some pushing well in excess of 10 pounds, were also hooked in the pass as schools were sighted roaming the shorelines and busting bait on the surface.
The better trout fishing came from Pine Island Sound near the gulf in areas with clean or clear water. With all the recent rain and stained water, locating water with decent clarity is key. Notable areas included grass flats northwest of Mondongo Island, west of the fish shacks and between Redfish and Captiva passes. A mix of undersizes to upper slot fish were found over grass flats averaging 4 to 7 feet in depth.
The same areas mentioned above for trout were also a good bet to give up a few Spanish mackerel. With cooler weather to our north, the annual fall migration of fish heading south is in motion. Every day we can expect an increase in mackerel numbers. Schooling mackerel, often resulting in fast action, were reported at the Sanibel Causeway on either sides of the span, up and down the beaches, in the sound and north of Bokeelia. Casting or trolling silver spoons is a great way to target the macks; some areas are also holding large schools of ladyfish and a few bluefish.
Pompano to 3 pounds were caught in the surf on Captiva Beach, off the beach of Captiva Pass and around near-shore reefs. Live shrimp under a popping cork and small white or pink pompano jigs tipped with shrimp were the best methods for bringing home a few of these tasty fish for dinner.
Offshore, red grouper were reported from 25 to 30 miles southwest of Sanibel and west of Boca Grande Pass. Lane and mangrove snapper were caught from ledges, coral and Swiss cheese bottom over depths ranging from 45 to 60 feet.
Also offshore, it’s time to keep an eye out or bait in the water for king mackerel, cobia and other pelagics moving down the coast.
Before heading offshore, please check grouper regulations at www.myfwc.com , it looks like recreational grouper season is closing on Oct. 8 in gulf waters through the end of the year.
Cooler days and migrating fish moving through our waters, what a great time to fish! Take advantage of it, get out there and let us know what you catch!
If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please contact us at 238-283-7960, on the Web at www.fishpineisland.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a safe week and good fishin’.